When The Shawshank Redemption premiered in 1994, I was only 10 years old. My older brother enjoyed watching the movie and I always watched, too (thankfully it was the made-for-TV version- oye!!). While the Shawshank Redemption didn’t excel at the Box Office, it did become a cult classic. I remember touring the Ohio State Reformatory back in 2010 and being exuberant over walking in the footsteps of Andy and Red.
Fast forward five years to when we moved to Mansfield, where most of the filming for the Shawshank Redemption took place. I found it difficult to avoid the movie’s presence downtown and realized how much of a catalyst for tourism the film was. We’d been hoping to run the Shawshank Hustle for many years, but pregnancy, then COVID, then a knee injury, all put a damper on our plans! So, 2022 was the year to make it happen – a dream would finally be realized.
When is the Shawshank Hustle?
The Shawshank Hustle takes place every year in August. The event is held at the Ohio State Reformatory, where most of the movie was filmed. This year’s event is on August 12, 2023.
What to expect at the Shawshank Hustle
The Shawshank Hustle is a 7k walk/run that leaves from the Ohio State Reformatory and travels through the square of downtown Mansfield, Ohio, before returning to the Reformatory. While the event is considered a 7k, the course is closer to 4.6 miles, so plan (or train) accordingly.
One of the perks of running the Shawshank Hustle is the included tour of the Ohio State Reformatory. For fans of the Shawshank Redemption, this tour is a highlight and it is a great value to have it included in the race fee! The Ohio State Reformatory opened to its first inmates in 1896 – if those walls could only talk! What began as an Intermediate Penitentiary ended up closing as a Maximum Security Prison in 1990. The Mansfield Reformatory then sat in disrepair until it was saved and restored by local activists! While the Reformatory is most popular for being used in The Shawshank Redemption, the Reformatory was also used in the filming of Air Force One and Escape Plan: The Extractors.
The other race perk is a ride on the Richland Carrousel. Some of the race participants will even stop during the race to ride the Carrousel! (Click here to learn more about the Carrousel and family-friendly things to do near Mansfield).
I chose to make a stop during the race for a selfie with The Warden. Yes, every year the Warden’s lookalike makes a return visit to Shawshank. 😉 A fun competition created by the organizers is that the runners/walkers are divided into two teams, the guards and the inmates. After the event, the two teams’ race times are averaged and it’s announced who outpaced the other!
However, the most coveted part of the Shawshank Hustle package is the participation medal. Every year the organizers outdo themselves with the bling. The 2022 medal was even more epic than I expected, it depicted a needlepoint sign that hung over the safe where Andy Dufresne deposited the Warden’s nightly accounting work. However, the medal then opens to show the safe. Oh, that’s nice you think! But even more mind-blowing, the safe then OPENS to reveal Andy & the Warden looking into the safe in that memorable scene during Andy’s last night at Shawshank.
Things to know before you sign up:
- The VIP parking fee is worth it! For a $10 donation to the Ohio State Reformatory, you get to park right in front of the building instead of across the street. Not only does this donation help with restoration and updates, but it’s also nice to be able to conveniently get things in and out of your car.
- There are not a lot of food options on-site after the race (I hope this changes in 2023). The organizers hand out ice creams and bananas after the race, but if you are hungry for a full breakfast, you’ll have to bring your own or get it when you leave.
- Dress up! While we were boring old folks and just wore the race shirt, many runners add to the fun by wearing prisoner or warden costumes!
- This is a race, but many people choose to just walk and enjoy the event! You don’t have to be a freak of fitness to sign up. Ha!
- While you’re in Mansfield, check out these awesome restaurants, plan a stop at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, or look for more Shawshank movie sites at Malabar Farm State Park.
Sign up now! Early registration prices end 2/28/23
Places to stay in Mansfield
If you’re coming in from out of town, you’ll probably want to stay overnight in Mansfield and avoid a very early drive! The Ohio State Reformatory is located off of Rt. 30, so it would be convenient to stay near Ontario.
I would recommend the Towneplace Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, or Hampton Inn. CHECK RATES NOW
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